Two years. Two whole years. It’s funny how time ticks by sometimes. There are days when I feel like it’s been an eternity since I last saw her, and others when I still get the urge to pick up the phone to gab and gush. For ten glorious seconds I believe that she’ll pick up the phone on the other end.
I’m lucky to have so many precious keepsakes that help me preserve her memory, but almost nothing means more to me than a thank-you card she wrote to me when she stayed with me in Ottawa the first summer after I moved here.
In 2013, six months after I graduated from teachers college, I was offered a job working for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. I can’t even begin to put into words how much my parents helped to get me settled in my new home. They drove me here for every interview and information night, searched tirelessly for a place fitting for their little girl, and then packed up my van, their car, and another moving van after my bed fell off the roof of my van onto the road. Shockingly, no people or mattresses were injured during the convoy, though we did briefly lose Dad along the way.
I quickly fell in love with Ottawa, made new friends, and found lots of fabulous restaurants for when family came to visit. In the summer of 2014, having successfully completed my first school year as a teacher, Mom came to visit me for one of our signature girls weekends, only this time, we spent an entire week together. I wanted to make things perfect for her as she always did for me. I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom, washed bedding and towels, and bought all kinds of our favourite treats and drinks.
Every morning I made us a big fruit bowl for breakfast–strawberries, bananas, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, yogurt, cottage cheese, and trail mix–served in bed, of course. We’d leisurely clean ourselves up and make ourselves presentable to go out into the world. For lunch. And other things, but food was our first priority. I took her to my favourite Indian restaurant (conveniently located in the same building as my former apartment), my favourite salady place, Thai place, Greek place, and the list goes on. We went shopping, toured the city, ate BeaverTails, watched movies, laughed, cuddled, and had the BEST time.
The picture at the top of this post is from that special week we spent together. It’s my Facebook profile picture too…and I just can’t change it. Not yet, anyway. I want to remember that week every day of my life. I mentioned near the beginning of this post that Mom wrote me a thank-you letter before she returned back home to Dad. I want to share it with all of you.
It says ‘Dearest Julie, How can I thank you for giving me such a wonderful week of laughter, adventure, great food and fun? I love you so much and it was such a joy spending this treasured time with you. Thank you so much for your generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness. I’m so proud of the person you’ve become! My heart is full of love and admiration for my incredible girl! Hugs & kisses and forever love, Mom.’
I cry every single time I read this. Not just because I miss her with every fiber of my being. I cry because it’s a love letter. I will never have any doubt how much that beautiful woman loved me. And if there is ever a day that I doubt myself, or the path I’ve chosen, I’ll read this letter and remind myself that she’s proud of me, that she believes in me, admires me, treasures me. My dearest mother, my best friend in the world, here’s to all the girls weeks and weekends we had together. Till the next one.